USC Women Sting Sacramento State With 101-99 Victory|
Dec. 14, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team gutted out an incredibly fast-paced and high-scoring battle at Galen Center, overcoming an 11-point deficit by digging deep for a push to a 101-99 victory over visiting Sacramento State. The short-staffed Women of Troy showed no quit even as the Hornets kept coming. USC's first lead of the second half came with 6:47 led to play, and the Trojans managed to stay a step ahead the rest of the way. With big numbers coming from seniors Kiki Alofaituli and Kaneisha Horn, who both recorded the first double-doubles of their careers, the Women of Troy notched the program's 35th 100-point game and the second such effort in Galen Center history. USC improves to 7-2 with the win, while Sacramento State falls to 1-8.
The wild tone of the game was set right from the start. USC would lead by as much as 10 points with 7:30 to go in the half, only to see the fast-paced Hornets plow into the lead minutes later. The scoring frenzy had the Hornets ahead 58-52 at the break on 54-percent shooting. USC was hitting at a 60-percent clip through the first 20 minutes but couldn't match Sacramento State's seven first-half 3-pointers made. Those threes kept coming for the Hornets in the second half, but USC finally worked out a way to counter that perimeter attack. The Trojans would fall behind by 11 on one of those Hornet threes with 15:00 on the clock in the second half, but set off on a 14-2 run in the next six minutes to pull even and find the energy for the rally to victory. By the final buzzer, USC had rounded out the game shooting 56 percent from the floor to Sacramento State's 49 percent. The Hornets had interrupted the USC offense with that full-court pressure to the tune of 27 Trojan turnovers, but USC had forced 23 turnovers at the other end. Sacramento State wound up nailing 13 threes in the game, but USC got a boost with its efforts on the boards, out-rebounding the Hornets 50-31 overall.
A season-high six Trojans finished up in double figures, including four with new career highs. Top scorer Kiki Alofaituli tallying 26 points to go with 10 rebounds for the senior's first-ever double-double. Kaneisha Horn also went big, scoring 20 points and hauling in 15 rebounds for the Trojans. Freshman Kristen Simon set a new high for herself with 17 points, as did fellow freshman Amy Okonkwo with 12 points. Also joining the double-digit day for USC was Brianna Barrett with her own double-double, scoring 12 points and serving up 10 assists. USC's sixth payer to hit double figures was Courtney Jaco, who hit both of USC's 3-pointers in the game and finished up with 10 points. Sacramento State was led by a game-high 28 points from Fantasia Hilliard and had three other players finish in double figures. The Hornets had 14 players get on the court today, outmanning USC's seven active Trojans.
Sacramento State came out of the gates with full-court pressure on the Trojans, but USC was able to dig in and get back-to-back buckets from Kiki Alofaituli to grab the early advantage. A dish from Alofaituli to Alexis Lloyd crafted a 7-0 start for USC, but that run would come to a close with a three-point play converted by the Hornets. Later, a 6-0 run by Sacramento State sneaked the Hornets into the lead, up 14-13 with 14:30 on the clock. The lead would change hands for the next minute or so, until a Kaneisha Horn rebound and feed to a streaking Alofaituli nudged the Trojans ahead 19-16 at 13:00. That put Alofaituli in double figures, and gave a big boost to the Women of Troy. A three nailed by Jaco kept momentum on USC's side as Horn continued to clean up on the defensive boards. After serving up a block on the defensive end, Amy Okonkwo got in on the scoring action for USC with a score in the paint, and Jaco nabbed a steal and scored herself to make it a 30-22 USC lead with 8:40 to go in the half. Okonkwo continued to impress with some slick work in the paint to push USC into a 10-point lead just over a minute later. In the next three minutes, however, the Hornets got hot. A forceful rally by Sacramento State sparked a 16-point swing that had the Hornets up 48-42 with 3:10 left in the half. Kristen Simon, Alofaituli and Jaco would string together scores for the Trojan cause to pull things even at 48-48 with 2:25 on the clock. Once again, though, the Hornets kicked into gear and even landed a last-second 3-pointer to take a 58-52 advantage into the locker rooms.
Sacramento State landed its eighth 3-pointer of the game to pull into its largest lead of the game, up by nine at 63-54 with 17:55 on the clock. Alofaituli lifted herself to a new career high and kept adding to it from the free-throw line in making the score 63-56 and standing tall as the first player to score 20 points in the game. Horn would get to her first career double-double in snagging her 10th rebound. In doing so, she sparked a USC attack that was finished off by Alofaituli, and the Trojans tugged within five, down 75-70 with 11:55 to go. Horn delivered on the offensive end next, and USC was within three at 75-72 at the 10-minute mark. Next up was Barrett, she'd convert a take to the hoop to make it a 6-0 USC run to trim the deficit down to one. A Barrett steal led to the junior stepping to the free-throw line next, and she'd hit the back end to pull things even at 75-75 with 9:01 to go. Sacramento State snapped USC's 7-0 run at 8:26, but the Trojans stayed composed and managed to creep back into the lead for the first time since the first half. Okonkwo, Barrett and Horn combined forces to carry USC on a 6-0 run that built an 83-80 Trojan advantage with 6:20 remaining. Jaco would nail a clutch 3-pointer for the Trojans with 3 minutes left, turning a one-point margin into a 94-90 lead. The Trojan defense would force a shot clock violation with 1:50 to go, as USC held a 95-90 advantage. Freshman Simon would step up and knock down two big free throws with 1:33 to go to build USC's lead up to 97-90. Sacramento State answered back with its 12th 3-pointer of the day, though, and the score sat at 97-93 USC entering the final minute of regulation. With a freshly inked double-double to her name, Alofaituli added to her scoring tally with a bucket out of the press breaker, lifting USC ahead 99-93 with 57 seconds left. Simon would put USC across the 100-point mark with a score in the paint 30 seconds later, and USC held a 101-93 advantage. The Hornets wouldn't go away, though. In the last 23 seconds, Sacramento State cut the lead down to two, nailing a three with 0.4 ticks left to make it 101-99. USC just had to get the ball inbounds cleanly, and the job was done efficiently to wrap a wild one at Galen Center as a hard-fought Trojan victory.
The Women of Troy remain at Galen Center for the rest of the calendar year. Next up is a Thursday (Dec. 18) matchup against LMU at 4 p.m., followed by next Sunday's Dec. 21 clash against Oklahoma State at 12 p.m.
USC 101, SACRAMENTO STATE 99
Sacramento State.............. 58 41 - 99
3-point goals--Sacramento State 13-29 (HILLIARD, Fantasia 4-5; JOHNSON,
Maranne 3-8; GENNETT, Hallie 3-8; CHENIER, Andrea 1-3; RANDLE-EL, Adella
1-2; BURGOS, Brianna 1-2; BURSE, Takara 0-1), USC 2-8 (Jaco, Courtney 2-7;
Lloyd, Alexis 0-1).